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The Gold Dollar Building
2402 San Gabriel St – Wheatville
Jacob Fontaine’s former home, the Gold Dollar Building is the last remaining building standing in what was once known as Wheatville, one of the first black communities of Austin after the Civil War.
Jacob Fontaine was born into slavery in Arkansas in 1808. After emancipation, he founded the First (Black) Baptist Church in Austin. He established the Austin Gold Dollar in August 1876– one of the first black weekly newspapers in the South and the first Black owned newspaper in Austin. Today copies and records are extremely scarce, but the Gold Dollar existed maybe as late as 1880.
- The newspaper emphasized needs of freed slaves-family ties, education, frugality, moral and religious instruction, the discipline of youth, and racial justice.
- Fontaine named his paper after a gold dollar given to him by his sister, when they were reunited in Mississippi after a separation caused by slavery 20 yrs before.
- The structure set afire by arsonists in August 1879 and later designated an Austin landmark in August 1977.